In the Summer of 2006, Luc Gerard and his Tribeca team had spent months talking to Álvaro Arango, the co-managing partner of Colombia-based swimwear company OndadeMar.
Tribeca had targeted the brand as a possible company to acquire. Arango proved eager to talk from the start. Since its inception, OndadeMar had gained significant recognition due to a combination of luck and the consistently high-quality designs it delivered. The company had potential to grow much further and faster.
However, fuelling this growth required investments that went way beyond the two founders’ own means. They were ready to sell. Negotiations went on for most of the summer with a number of potential buyers and investors, until Tribeca was granted an exclusive.
Throughout the period, Alvaro handled the talks on behalf of the company. Pily Queipo, the other managing partner and the company’s chief designer, never intervened. That became all too obvious on the day of closing with Tribeca Partners: She simply did not show up and refused to sign the purchase agreement. Unaware of the internal conflicts, Luc Gerard scheduled a meeting with Pily Queipo in her design studio in Miami. The meeting proved memorable. She was very much the jet-setting diva-cum-artist Arango had described. But she was also clearly the heart and talent of the company. For hours she spoke passionately about her brand, her designs, her dreams and her passions. She was the brand. She could not care less about the business issues; she wanted to remain with OndadeMar.
Sitting on the plane back to Bogotá, his mind still buzzing with all the new information, Luc started putting all the deal pieces together again. He had targeted OndadeMar as the first building block of Tribeca Fashion, one of three pillars of the new private equity fund he had just raised in Colombia. Was this the right wave to ride first?
- Building and managing a brand globally in the fashion industry
- High-end fashion retailing
- Globalization of brands
- Growth financing in a global context
- Emerging countries globalization